A few years later the city of Santo Domingo became the Spanish capital of the New World, and because of its location in the trade winds, it was the gateway to the Caribbean.France gained a foothold on the western end of the island, which became prosperous, and by 1795 Spain ceded the entire island to France.To the north of Hispaniola is the Atlantic Ocean, to the south the Caribbean Sea, to the east Puerto Rico, and to the west Cuba.Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica are referred to as the Greater Antilles.The central region is dominated by the Cordillera Central (central range) which ends at the Caribbean Sea.The highest point in the Caribbean is Pico Duarte, which reaches an elevation of over 10,414 feet (3,175 meters) and has alpine forests near the summit.By 1804 the black African slaves in the western portion of the island (now Haiti) rebelled against the French and ruled the entire island.
The national community is struggling to build a democracy against a corrupt and authoritarian political elite. The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola and is 18,816 square miles (48,734 square kilometers), about twice the size of New Hampshire.
The Dominican Republic became a nation on 27 February 1844 when a group of revolutionaries seized power from the Haitian rulers of the island of Hispaniola.
When Christopher Columbus first discovered the island in 1492, he named it La Isla Española, which became Hispaniola.
Estimates of the birth rate range from seventeen per thousand (1994) to twenty-five per thousand (2000 estimated).
The death rate estimate varies from one per thousand in 1994 to five per thousand (2000 estimated).
Dominicans have migrated from rural areas to the cities.